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Repairing and Recovering a Corrupted Excel File

If you have worked with Excel for a long time, you must be frustrated to find the corrupted Excel files. What should you do to get back the damaged files?

This problem is not new and many experienced Excel users and developers have encountered such an issue.

Do not worry! This tutorial will show you how to repair and restore Excel file damaged in an efficient way.

Part 1. Repair Excel file is corrupt and cannot be opened

Microsoft released many versions of Excel and improved the design in each version. The repair options for Excel files are slightly different.

1. Excel file corrupted on Excel 2016, 2013, 2010

Microsoft regularly releases updates for Windows to fix bugs and introduce new features. If you're wondering if Excel is not responding about how to save, it's time to get the latest updates for your computer.

Step 1: Run the Excel 2016/2013/2010 program from your desktop, open the "File" menu and select "Open". If you are using Excel 2013/2016, click the location where your file is saved and click the "Browse" option.

Step 2: After the opened dialog box opens, navigate to your file and select it. Next, instead of clicking the Open button directly, unfold the Down button.

Step 3: Then select "Repair" to repair the Excel file damaged with the built-in repair function. If the repair function is invalid, try the Extract Data function instead.

2. Excel file damaged on Excel 2007

Step 1: Also open the Excel program on your computer, find the Microsoft Office button and click on it. Then select "Open" from the list.

Step 2: Find the damaged Excel file that you want to recover and highlight it in the "Open" dialog box. Then click the down icon next to the Open button and choose Open and Repair.

Step 3: Next, you will be presented with two options: "Repair" and "Extract Data". The former recovers workbook data in the file, and the latter can extract data from the workbook. Make a decision based on your needs.

This way works even if your Excel file is not responding.

Part 2. Best Way to Recover Corrupted Excel File

It is the easiest method to get the corrupted Excel file back on your computer. Also, you can get back the Excel file that was not saved or deleted due to a system crash or format.

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Step 1: Scan the entire hard drive for Excel files

Install and launch Data Recovery on your computer. If your Excel file was saved on an external drive, connect it to your PC as well. Go to the data type area and select Document. Then go to the location and choose where you want to save the corrupted Excel file. Data recovery works once you hit the "Scan" button.

Step 2: Preview Excel files before recovery

After the quick scan, click the "Document" option on the left sidebar and open the folders titled XLSX and XLS to preview all the recoverable Excel files. In addition, the "Filter" function on the upper menu ribbon can quickly find the Excel files. If you cannot find the file you want, click the Deep Scan button to perform a deep scan.

Step 3: Restore Corrupted Excel File in One Click

Select all the Excel files you want and click the Recover button to start the corrupted Excel file recovery. You can then access the damaged Excel files as usual.

Part 3. Tryable Solutions to Recover Corrupted Excel File

Apart from the best method, you can also try the following free solutions to recover damaged Excel files.

Method 1: Correct the corrected Excel file to the last saved version

If you edit the Excel file and it is damaged, you can revert the damaged Excel file to the last saved version.

Step 1: In the Excel program, go to "File"> "Open" and select "Recent Workbooks" in the right pane.

Step 2: Scroll down and click the "Recover Unsaved Workbooks" button at the bottom.

The last unsaved workbooks come from Excel temporary files that are not saved before opening.

If you have activated the "Auto save" function in Excel, you can restore further data. Go to File> Info, click the Manage Versions button. You will see all the automatically saved versions, select the one you want and open it.

Method 2: open damaged Excel file due to printer corruption

If your file is damaged while printing, SYLK format can open damaged Excel files and recover data from them.

Step 1: If printer corruption occurs, go to the "File" tab and select "Save As". In the Save As dialog box, open the Save Type drop-down menu, select SYLK, and click the Save button.

Step 2: If the selected file type doesn't support workbooks with multiple worksheets, click "OK" to save only the active worksheet. If you are notified that the workbook contains incompatible features, click Yes to continue.

Step 3: Next, go to the "File" tab, select "Open", select the Sylk exited file that you just saved in the "Open" dialog box, and click "Open" to open data restore the damaged workbook.

Method 3: Recover a Corrupted Excel File by Changing the Format

Another method to recover a damaged Excel file is to change the file extension. For example, xlsx is the new version of the Excel file that is not supported by the old versions of Excel programs and operating systems. The solution is to change xlsx to xls or html.

On Mac:

Step 1: Launch the Finder app, navigate to the damaged Excel file and select it.

Step 2: Click on the File menu in the upper left corner and select "Information". If you don't see the file extensions, click the triangle next to Name & Extension.

Step 3: Then change the file extension to xls or html. If it ends in xls, try xlsx. Finally, hit Enter and click "Use .xlsx" when prompted.

If you want to recover Word documents, just change the file extension to doc or docx.

On Windows:

Step 1: Open an explorer and open the folder that contains the damaged Excel file. Go to the "View" tab on the top ribbon and check the "File Name Extensions" box.

Step 2: Right click the file you want to recover, choose Rename and then change the file extension.

Step 3: When prompted, click Yes to confirm. Now you can open the damaged Excel file as usual and recover data from it.


Excel sometimes says that this file is corrupt and cannot be opened directly. often just a warning pop up. If you are suffering from the problem, the solutions in this article will be of great benefit for repairing and recovering damaged Excel files. You can try 2 common solutions to fix the problem. If your Excel file is still corrupted, try the solutions to get it back.